Originally from Nigeria, Ngozi Enwere worked in a major hospital in London as a medical/nursing recruiter for six years before emigrating with her family to the United States. “I became a Certified Nurse Aide and worked at a senior care facility on the weekends while raising my young kids,” says Ngozi, who lives in Houston. She bolstered her resume with additional certifications—the Certified Medical Assistant and Licensed Vocational Nurse Certificate—and gained experience in a skilled nursing unit in a hospital, home health, and a nursing and rehabilitation center.
Furthering her education
As her six children grew older, Ngozi started thinking pursuing her dream of becoming a Registered Nurse. “I’d always worked in part-time roles so I could be with my children while my husband travels for his job,” she says. Her commitment to her family and their education paid off. Her adult children all hold doctorates and she has a son at the University of California at Berkeley and an eighth-grader. After her youngest was 10 years old, Ngozi returned to school at Lee College and became a Registered Nurse. She graduated in 2014.
Soon thereafter, Ngozi got a job as the RN MDS/care plan coordinator at the Buckingham, a senior living community in Houston. She provides patient care, medication education and review, and handles Medicare reimbursement for long-term and private pay residents. “I have three roles in some ways,” she says. “I really enjoy the patients and I gain a lot of joy and satisfaction making a difference in their lives.”
Driven to better herself
A colleague of Ngozi encouraged her to think about getting the BSN, and she began to see its importance as well. “I am seeing more nurses with the BSN, and I don’t want to limit myself or get left behind,” she says. That same friend was attending American Sentinel University and put Ngozi in touch with an admissions advisor. She took her first two classes in spring 2016.
Struck by tragedy
In July 2016, Ngozi’s mother passed away, followed by her younger brother in May 2017. “It was a struggle, and I did have to take a break from school to go home and deal with all of it,” she says. However, she was committed to finishing what she started. “I thought, ‘I’m going to push on. I don’t want to pull back now, and they wouldn’t have wanted me to.’”
Ngozi is continuing to forge ahead and hopes to finish the BSN in mid-2018. “I am learning so much, and it’s causing me to think about things I haven’t before,” she says. “But it’s been very beneficial. Something takes place at work and I am able to find connections to my class work.”
Mary Adams President’s Award
This year, Ngozi was nominated for the Mary Adams President’s Award, which is given to a student who best exemplifies perseverance in their progress toward their degree despite obstacles. She was awarded the honor in June 2017 at commencement, even though she has one year until she graduates.
Her student success advisor, Aaron, calls Ngozi a “hard-working and competent student who has demonstrated an admirable ability to balance her work, personal life and school life.” “Watching Ngozi surmount obstacles has been inspiring and I can’t congratulate her enough for her achievements thus far in the BSN program,” he says.
For Ngozi, the accolade meant a great deal. “I was surprised and honored,” she says. “It makes me want to keep going. I know I can do it, and I keep pushing on each day. I grew up in a household with parents who valued education and where failure was never an option. I know that once I complete this, it will be worth it and will help me in my career.”
Inspired by Ngozi’s story? A BSN is ideal for nurses who want to expand their knowledge base, become more marketable and enjoy greater career stability and mobility. Specialized knowledge forms the foundation of nursing and when you acquire new knowledge, you can apply it to nursing practice in ways that enhance patient care and improve outcomes.